Stress and Mental Health in the Canton of Zurich

To follow are details about our study.


Its line of enquiry is based on the continuum concept and includes the following questions:


  • Are the same mechanisms behind symptoms, slight, and serious disorders?
  • What influence do negative circumstances in childhood or adolescence have?
  • According to the position on the Continuum, how is help accepted?
  • According to the position on the Continuum, what is the effect of stress and strain?
  • Why are some people more sensitive to strain than others?


The approach of the study follows the well-known Zurich Study of Professor Jules Angst, which has three stages.


First of all, approximately 10,000 men and women from the Canton of Zurich are chosen at random and interviewed over the telephone. The telephone interview contains simple questions about mental and physical well-being, about stress and strain.


In the second stage, a smaller, more stratified, random sample of approximately 2,000 people is formed from this large random sample. Following the telephone interview these people are invited to a face-to-face interview.


In the third stage of the study we would like to examine more closely the influence of stress on a small group of interested participants. This group of approximately 400 people will be invited to tests at the socio-physiological laboratory. These tests are fundamentally concerned with the influence of stress on the development of mental health disorders. In addition, a series of biological data will be compiled which are linked to the mental and physical effects of stress. Following on from this, the course of stress will be traced through short telephone interviews over a period of 12 months.


Participation in the first telephone interview, as well as in the two subsequent parts of the study, is naturally voluntary.